The Charity Commission (‘the commission’), the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into Rabia Educational Trust, registered charity number 1082410. The inquiry was opened on 2 May 2016.
Rabia Educational Trust has objects for the advancement of education and as part of its activities operates an independent Islamic School for girls and boys in Luton (see endnote 1).
The commission carried out a compliance visit and inspection to the charity in January 2015 and issued an action plan as a result of identifying regulatory concerns to the trustees in September 2015 (see endnote 2).
The action plan required the trustees to submit the charity’s 2014 annual returns which were overdue and make other improvements to the charity’s governance. The trustees were given until 28 March 2016 to comply with the action plan. The charity’s 2014 annual returns remain overdue.
On 31 March 2016 the commission wrote to the trustees and required them to provide a written response and evidence of their compliance with the action plan. The commission also required the trustees to provide a written response in relation to concerns raised in the media about the charity and its hosting of guest speakers at the school.
The trustees did not respond to the commission within the required timeframes and their response did not address all the actions required of the trustees as set out in the action plan. Therefore the commission opened an inquiry into the charity and has exercised its legal powers to compel the trustees to provide information and documents regarding the charity to the commission (see Notes to editors).
The issues the inquiry will examine include:
- administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees
- the financial controls and management of the charity
- conduct of the trustees
- whether or not the trustees have and continue to comply with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law - this includes compliance with other laws relevant to the charity and its activities
It is the commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were. Reports of previous inquiries are available on GOV.UK.
The charity’s details can be viewed on the commission’s online charity search tool.
Notes to editors
- The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. To find out more about our work, see our annual report.
- Search for charities on our online register.
- Section 15(2) of the Charities Act 2011 gives the commission the power to issue regulatory advice to charities. The commission expects trustees to follow any regulatory advice it gives and will follow up to ensure it has been acted on.
- Section 46 of the Charities Act 2011 gives the commission the power to institute inquiries. The opening of an inquiry gives the commission access to a range of investigative, protective and remedial legal powers.
- Section 47(2)(a) and (b) - Direction. The section 47 Direction is a legal power to direct the trustees to provide information, explanations and documentation which is in their custody or under their control.
- The commission is aware of the recent findings made by Ofsted as a result of an unannounced inspection in April 2016 to the Rabia Girls’ and Boys’ School and Sir Michael Wilshaw’s letter (dated 27 April 2016) to the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities. The commission does not investigate matters relating to education standards in schools, this is a matter for Ofsted and/or other authorities. However, it is the responsibility of the trustees to ensure that the charity complies with other relevant laws that relate to the charity and its activities.
- The commission’s decision to announce the opening of a statutory inquiry is based on whether it is in the public interest to do so and with consideration of our objective to increase public trust and confidence in charities.
- Rabia Girls’ and Boys’ School.
- The action plan was issued under section 15(2) of the Charities Act 2011.